By Michael M . . . When SORNA (Sex Offender Registration Notification Act, aka Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006) required the states to establish comprehensive minimum standards for their state sex offender registries, it created an unfunded mandate that left many states scrambling to comply or lose Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding from the federal government. Many states did not have sufficient funds earmarked for the creation of a whole new bureaucracy, especially one that depends so heavily on expensive information technology, so they outsourced it.
One of the big beneficiaries of that outsourcing decision was a company called Watch Systems LLC. Watch Systems provides a turn-key solution called the Offender Watch Network to over 3500 government agencies, including sheriffs’ offices, police departments, attorney generals’ offices, US Attorneys, federal and state probation offices, the Department of Corrections, Indian tribes, and the US Marshals’ Service. In fact, they claim that 61% of the nation’s sex offenders are in their database, which resides on their privately owned hosted servers. Their “supplemental” products include mobile sex offender mapping applications, a postal sex offender notification mailing service, and a robo-caller to verify sex offender phone numbers. In addition to their sex offender registry products, Watch Systems also maintains and markets other registries for arsonists, deadly weapon offenders, metal thieves, gang members, and animal abusers.